Time moves on, even on the Discworld

Review: Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

A keeper? Definitely

Of course, sometimes time on the Discworld moves backwards. Or sideways. Or does a loop-the-loop.

We first met Sam Vimes, back in Guards! Guards!, when he was in charge of the last guttering remnant of the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch. By the end of that story, the usual shreds of order had been restored, and Sam had met his Sybil, otherwise known as Lady Rankin.

It’s been a few years. Watchmen of all shapes and sizes, from Buggy Squires the gnome to Detritus the troll who uses a siege crossbow as a hand weapon, patrol the streets. Lord Vetinari, who could give Machiavelli a few helpful tips, rules by keeping all the city’s factions thisfar from one another’s throats. And Sybil Vimes is the Duchess of Ankh-Morpork; that goes with being married to the very reluctant Duke.

Vimes is still a cop, though – first, last, and all the time – and he’s not about to miss chasing a crazed mass murderer across the rooftops just because he’s got a pile of administrative paperwork. He almost has Carcer the monster in his grip when they both plummet through a skylight into the dangerously magical Library. And time skids.

Once upon a time, Sam Vimes was a wet-behind-the-ears rookie. Once upon a time, Vetinari was a dangerously devious teenager. Once upon a time, Mrs. Rosie Palm, the well-known employer of, er, seamstresses (hem, hem) was young and pretty. Once upon a time, everything was on the brink of going disastrously wrong. Can the grown-up version of Vimes cajole, bully, and inspire history into going the way it ought to turn out, and get back to his Sybil before their son is born? Does the lilac bloom in spring?

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4 responses to “Time moves on, even on the Discworld

  1. I think Terry Pratchett is one of my love or hate writers, some of the books i loved and some i didn’t, don’t think i have read this one though

    • True – I think the first two Discworld stories are awful – probably he hadn’t figured out what to do with the idea yet. And I can’t stand Cohen the Barbarian. But when Pratchett is good, he’s very good.

  2. I have not read this book yet either. Don’t you love the entire process? The story unfolding, the clues, mystery, the climax and all the thought behind it. I love books!

    • The entire experience of reading a book for the first time? Yes, I do love that – except when it turns out to be a book that (I think is) badly written, and then it’s painful. Of course, I also enjoy re-reading books that I like.

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